Just seven years ago ‘home’ for Murhula Ruhamya was a Ugandan refugee camp.
Originally from the Congo in East Africa, war forced Murhula from his country.
“I had no home, no food, no medication and there was no education. I used to think I’d be a doctor one day but I couldn’t finish my education due to the war and, when I became a refugee, I lost hope.”
Then in 2010 Murhula, who has four brothers and three sisters, was given the opportunity to escape Uganda and come to New Zealand.
“I’d never even heard of New Zealand before,” Murhula smiles. “They showed us a map and here was this little country in the middle of a big ocean and I just thought ‘what?!’
“Now I’m here, I realise New Zealand is a big country, it just looks small!”
And in 2017 life for Murhula couldn’t be more different to what it once was.
For starters, home for the 25-year-old now is a two-bedroom Housing New Zealand house at one of its brand new developments in Waterview.
“This house is perfect, especially compared to my old home in Glendene which was surrounded by trees and very cold. It’s very, very nice compared to where I used to be.”
Murhula’s property is one of the 17 two, three and four bedroom houses Housing New Zealand has built to replace three, old 1940s brick duplexes in Tōrea Place off Waterview’s Daventry Street.
“The street here is very quiet and peaceful, the house is really nice and everyone’s friendly – it’s a good neighbourhood,” Murhula says.
And the keen chorister, who returned home in January to marry and recently graduated with a Bachelor of Social Practice, is now looking forward to building a new life and career in New Zealand.
“I chose social work because the people who supported me to resettle here helped me a lot, and I want to give back to this country for having me here.”